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Posted by: Chandra Williams on Sep 28, 2015

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Christopher D. Owens, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellants, Wayne Holtsclaw and Willie Holtsclaw.

Attorneys 2:

Arthur M. Fowler and Arthur M. Fowler, III, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellees, Darrell Johnson and Brenda Johnson.

Judge(s): SUSANO

This is a dispute over a narrow strip of real property adjacent to the boundary line of tracts of land owned by plaintiffs Wayne Holtsclaw and Willie Holtsclaw and defendants Darrell Johnson and Brenda Johnson. The Holtsclaws brought this action seeking ejectment and a declaration that they owned the disputed property. The Johnsons asserted, among other things, that they were entitled to the property because of their many years of adverse possession. The Holtsclaws responded by arguing that Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-2-110 (2000 & Supp. 2015) bars the Johnsons’ adverse possession claim because, for more than twenty years, the Johnsons had not paid property taxes on the disputed property. The Johnsons responded that the Supreme Court’s opinion in Cumulus Broadcasting, Inc. v. Shim, 226 S.W.3d 366, 381 (Tenn. 2007), which held that § 28-2-110 is not applicable “when the tracts are contiguous, a relatively small area is at issue, and the adjacent owners making claims of ownership have paid their respective real estate taxes,” applied in this case. The trial court ruled that the Johnsons established ownership by adverse possession and that the “Cumulus exception” applies. We affirm.